Summary: What we have today is a honest gut wrenching Lutheran based message saying “What a Thing Really Is,” by using the 23rd Psalm followed by the words of Christ Jesus.

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Sermon for John 10:1-10 and Psalm 23

May 15, 2011

What we have today is a honest gut wrenching Lutheran based message saying “What a Thing Really Is,” by using the 23rd Psalm followed by the words of Christ Jesus.

Don’t you wonder sometimes why the world we live in is such a mess? Not only our world, but many of our lives seems to be spiraling out of control. This chaos spills into all arenas even into the church actually causing some to turn away from God. What in the world is going on?

Well my dear friends, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The cause of all this mess and confusion is simply called people! That’s right! People—human beings trying their hardest—maybe not their hardest—but trying all the less to make things right!

Maybe our intentions are not half bad. Really we just want what Jesus talks about in today’s lesson. We all desire that “Abundant Life.” We all simply want what the shepherd boy David writes about in the 23rd Psalm.

Never to be in need.

A nice place to lay my head, or green pastures.

A peaceful life without all the conflict. Still waters.

A time to truly rest where my soul is content.

To know what is right and be able to do it.

Not to be fearful when dark times comes.

To know that God is with me even when trouble surrounds me.

Where we have more than enough for a good life.

And to never, never have to worry about death.

If you had all these gifts do you think that your life would be at least at little more abundant? I know mine would!

However, we seek these gifts through our own measures.

Jesus calls these ways thieves and bandits that do not provide what we desire. Not only that—our own messily efforts eventually end up sucking out the abundance of life.

Think I’m full of it?

At the time of Christ the philosophers we big news. Additional education would cure the world’s problems. If that didn’t work the perfect government of Rome with all her power and wealth might cure our ills. That culture was known for all its various gods. Gods of wine and food, of beauty and strength. God’s of wealth and fortune.

And yet 2000 years later not much has changed. We like the people of ancient days create of own idols and gods in the manner in which we live. We place money, things careers first thinking this is the way to greener pastures. We even create thieves and bandits in our religions saying that we are the only ones who have the truth.

We still think never to be in need, no conflict, rest, right behavior, no fear, the good life lies at our finger tips with just the right effort and perhaps a little bit of luck. Well I say, “Good Luck with that one!”

I think by now we should have come to the conclusion that we need another approach if this abundant living is going to become a reality. We truly need help! And David writes, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” God is the one who provides our every need—not us—not thieves and bandits.

It sounds simple enough! But there are just two huge problems in this truth of life. Are you willing to admit first of all that you need a shepherd and second willing to admit you are like a sheep?

However, if you take all this seriously, one of the very first steps in getting closer to an abundant life is an honest and gut wrenching confession of the truth, “I am a lost, ignorant sheep! I need a Shepherd! Because I can not do it alone!

And here lies our catch 22, compounding our struggle. A sheep is not the kind of animal I care to be associated with. Weak and not so smart! After all, back in the days of Christ Jesus all they were really good for was to provide food and clothing and serve as a sacrifice.

They are not the most noble of beasts always wandering off, getting lost and in trouble. Sound familiar?

I read about an entire flock of sheep getting spooked by a jackrabbit and following each other right over a cliff to their death. No comment.

The ignorant little creatures will eat themselves sick of you allow them to graze in one place too long, and they will starve and won’t even go look for food if they are not led to proper pasture. Again canning similarities.

Plus if you have ever smelled a sheep in blunt terms they stink.

See the problem? Most of us have no intention of being like a sheep, so we continue to rely on our own ability and abundance of life remains allusive.

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